THOMAS POOL INTERVIEWS TATTOO ARTIST AGNE HURT.
Thomas Pool: Can you outline your creative background, inspiration, and ethos as a tattoo artist?
Agne Hurt: My father has always been into painting, and so was his mother, my grandmother; they were into all sorts of arts and crafts. I am sure I’ve gotten my artistic nature from this side of my family. I went to art school for many years in Lithuania. When I came to Dublin, I did a PLC course and a few years in university as well, but I didn’t finish it – I hated the course and the style of teaching. I was hugely uninspired, and it made me question whether this was my path.
Inspiration for my art, and art in general, changes alongside me. I believe that I never stop growing, evolving, reinventing, and discovering new things in my life that affect my inner world, which manifest in the environment that I create, curate and surround myself with. Art itself serves as a means of self-expression and communication with the world, therefore it’s very personal – tattoos included. I believe that me and the people who ‘get it’ somewhat share the same frequency, even for a moment. The universe makes our paths cross and share one space for a few hours.
TP: Your ‘canvas’ is another person’s body. Your work is probably seen by more people every day than an artwork hanging on a gallery wall, but bodies, and therefore tattoos, are impermanent. Does this affect how you approach your work as an artist?
AH: To be honest, I have completely opposite concept of tattoos. There is a saying “pain is temporary, tattoos are forever.” The person that gets a tattoo is going to bring it to their grave. Nowadays, you can laser it off if you really want to, but the idea is still there. Before the invention of technology, tattoos were much more intentional. Often, tattoos signify a rite of passage in a person’s life. In some cultures, they are worn as a badge of honour; in others they serve purely aesthetic purposes. I guess my approach is a combination of each, as seen through a contemporary lens. Also, a tattoo can mean something completely different for each person who is getting it, so it is relative. I guess the collaborative intention is what matters.
TP: What is the most challenging piece you have created to date?
Challenge is a key driving force, if an artist wants to grow. I have done many pieces which I thought were challenging in the moment, but it turned out were totally within in my ability. Humans are way more capable than we are made to believe.
TP: Unlike traditional visual art practices, tattoo artists are not usually eligible for funding from bodies like the Arts Council. How do you balance the need for a sustainable income with creating exciting, original work?
AH: I am very lucky, in that I mostly tattoo pieces that I am actually excited about. Also, tattooing is not the only outlet of creativity for me. It’s true that tattooing pays my bills, for which I am beyond grateful, but I also make T-shirts and prints, from which I also earn a bit. I’ve been self-employed for many years now and trust my capacity to support myself through my creative work.
TP: Are there any particular projects you are looking forward to in the near future?
AH: Nothing specifically, but I always love tattooing coverups and blast-overs, as it gives people a fresh start. The joy they get from covering something up, that they don’t associate themselves with anymore, is something else.
Agne Hurt is a tattoo artist based in Dublin.